Monday, October 31, 2011

How I thrift and some tips for you!

I have an ongoing list of things I need/ want that I watch for at thrift stores (I'm also not opposed to buying them on clearance). My list includes some kitchen things, the sizes Gideon needs in different types of clothes, yarn and other craft supplies, and many books. I am building a collection for Gideon of books I loved as a kid and from authors/ illustrators that I like. I'm also building a collection of chapter books for him.

I'm by no means a pro thrift shopper. I know there are people who thrift and then sell the treasures they find online and make money. I do have some tips for the basic for family thrift shopper though!

1. Keep an ongoing list of things you need or want. I used to keep a note on my phone until my list started getting too long and then I switched to a small notebook I keep in my purse.

2. Find out when or if the thrift store has half or or sale days. Goodwill does a certain color tag starting on Sundays for the week. A local thrift store I go to does certain types of items every few days- one day clothes are 25% off, another day books are 35% off, etc.

3. Don't expect to find everything (or even anything) each time. It's not a grocery store and there are no guarantees.

4. Go often and browse. You don't have to be there for hours. Just a lunch break or a few minutes while the baby is happy will work. Find out if the thrift store does a specific stocking day or time so you can go and get first look at things.

5. Don't buy things you don't need! Just because it's cheaper than new, if it's just going to collect dust in your house, it's no good to you!

I went thrifting on Friday and got an AWESOME deal! About 70 yards of lace trim for $1. It was just rolled up into a big ball so I wasn't sure if it was in one piece or not but I took a chance for a dollar. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Altering a t-shirt

 I have a couple of regular old t-shirts that I don't really like. The neck is too high and makes me feel claustrophobic. I just prefer V-neck so I decided to alter them with my good old serger.

 I cut the V-neck using a shirt I like as a guide.

Then, I just serged it.

I decided the sleeves and bottom looked kind of funny to not match the neckline, so I serged all around them as well.

I think I like them better. They are looser and just seem to fit better. I'm not sure if the bare serging makes them look like pajamas though... oh well, I'm one of those people who don't mind wearing pajamas out in public!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips on decluttering

At the beginning of this year, I joined an online challenge to get rid of 2011 things in 2011. I've gotten rid of 1737 things! It's kind of fun to keep track. I count any clutter that I get rid- everything from clothes being donated to trash that Gideon adopted as a toy getting thrown out finally.

Since i have no pictures for this post, I'll put one of Gideon in here! Also, I have no idea why it's sideways. It's right in the file...
I don't know if I'll actually make it to 2011 but I do need to go through all our clothes. I also want to get rid of some DVDs- we have so many we've never really watched more than once or twice. Those I'll try selling before taking them to a donation place.

I think keeping track of the things I'm getting rid of has helped in a couple ways. I'm still buying things (obviously based on my thrift store posts!) but I'm more aware of things coming into our house. It also seemed to release some sort of mental block about getting rid of things. I had two boxes of clothes that didn't fit me (from before I was even pregnant) that I carried with us through FOUR moves! I finally just donated them- I didn't even open the boxes up because I knew I would be tempted to keep things, just in case. Once I donated those, it was like freedom! I went through my other clothes and if something didn't fit or if I didn't like it very much, it went in the donation pile. Now my closet is easier to go through and we won't have to move a couple boxes the next time.

Right now, I have a plastic tote that I fill with items to be donated. When it's full, we bring to one of the thrift stores in town. 

I know we'll be moving again within the next year. After that, there's another move planned after a year or two there. So, it behooves me to keep our stuff to a minimum. Easier to pack, easier to unpack!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sewing while Gideon is awake

 Sewing while Gideon is awake is a little more difficult but manageable. He definitely enjoys it, even if I don't!

He likes to take the thread off my machine. After he played for awhile, I put it away.

 So, he reached inside to grab the thread and try to eat it.

Successful tasting of the thread. Thankfully, I still managed to start and finish a project!

 I made a needle and hook roll yesterday. Even with my little helper it took less than an hour.

 I just used one large piece of cotton fabric, serged the edges, sewed on three pieces of felt and then put holes in the felt for the needles and hooks to go through. I used scissors at first but then realized my seam ripper worked faster and was more accurate.

 Then, I just sewed a matching strip of fabric for the tie. Easy peasy! It works and looks better than the plastic grocery sack where I was keeping my needles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Toddler activities

I've been wanting to enrich Gideon's play. He finds plenty to do- putting canned goods in my pots, scattering my kitchen utensils throughout the house so while I'm cooking I have to check EVERYWHERE for the spoon or whisk I need. He plays with his toys- guitars, stacking toy, blocks, cars. We play lots of peek a boo and hide and seek (course, he'll come out as soon as I say, "Where's the baby?") He goes grocery shopping and on walks with me.

So here are a few of the activities I've done with him lately.

Coloring! He loves it but tries to eat the crayon after only a few minutes.
Playing in the sink while Mommy cooks is also very fun. He tends to get himself and the floor soaked but at least it keeps him out of trouble while I'm kneading dough or prepping dinner.
Inside jungle gym with his old crib mattress. All we do is pile a bunch of pillows and blankets under it and let him run up and down. He loves it and it wears him out!
Rice cereal. I love those rice or bean sensory tables but since Gideon still eats EVERYTHING, I needed something that would be okay if he ate it. This rice cereal is the perfect stuff. He used the spoon to move them around and then dumped the whole thing on the floor! At least then he tried to pick some of it up.

I also decided to make some sensory bags for him. I ended up making four. One has a marble with a little maze stitched in, one has plastic so it crinkles, another has knotted up yarn and the final one has beans. He hasn't shown too much interest in them but I plan on making a few more.

Sensory bags
WARNING: Puffed rice does not tend to stay in the container, so be prepared to vacuum!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thrifting clothes for Gideon

I've bought so many clothes for Gideon at thrift stores. The Goodwill in Post Falls and in Couer d'Alene have most baby clothes for 99 cents. And, if I get the right color tag, they are half off!

The other thrift stores I go to have baby clothes between $1 and $3. I don't think I've spent more than $2 on any other one item of clothing for him.

I've bought pants, shorts, shirts, sweatshirts and pajamas for him. Most of them were very gently used. I even found a new with tags sweatshirt and sweatpants set for $1.99 last week.

Those pictures are only the current (clean) clothes I've bought for Gideon. There are others that he's grown out of already and some are in the wash. I love saving money on clothes for him since he is growing so quickly!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thrifting toys for Gideon

I love going to thrift stores! And, I buy lots of stuff for Gideon at them. Clothes and toys can be great finds. Especially when new clothes and toys are so expensive! $15 to $30 for a toy the child might not even like seems too expensive to me.

I always carry a notebook with me that has a list of things I'm watching for at thrift stores. Kitchen stuff, what books I need or want, sizes in kid's clothes I'm looking for, etc. And, I always look through the kid's toys. There can be some really junky stuff but every once in awhile, I find something that Gideon will really love.

I like to look for musical instruments. I'm still on the lookout for a small keyboard or piano and any percussion instruments. But, I found a Little Tikes guitar several months ago. He loves it so much! I think the batteries need to be changed though because it's started making some awful noises instead of music. It might also be because Gideon likes to stand on it. But, it was $1.50. Can't beat that since new ones run about $14.

The keyboard behind him was also a thrift store buy- $1 and we cut off the cord. He likes to walk on it- apparently it's a nice foot massage.

Dave had Thursday off so while Gideon napped, I went thrift shopping without a baby! It was heavenly! No fussing in the stroller, no trying to run out the door or pull things off the shelves.

I went to the local Hospice thrift store that is always so well organized. and their prices on toys are AWESOME.

We have been looking for a doll stroller or grocery cart for months. He loves to push things around and we knew he would love to have one at home. It was $1.50! And pretty sturdy. Most of them that I've seen new at stores look like they would break if a kid sat in them and are usually more than $15. Gideon already tested his weight in this and it passed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Food, glorious food (for baby!)

Gideon is still nursing quite a bit. He loves his nursing time and I think if I let him, he would nurse all day sometimes.

But, he's also eating solids now! He was such a slow starter. I wanted to do baby led weaning, but he didn't take to it. So, we tried purees and he thought we were trying to poison him. So, we waited a few months and he started letting us feed him applesauce and Greek yogurt. He would also eat animal crackers and Ritz crackers.

After months of surviving off breast milk, crackers, and applesauce, he's FINALLY eating other foods!

From the top: Yesterday morning I'd made a puff pancake with apple slices in it. When I gave him a piece, he ran into the kitchen, put it in one of the pots and grabbed the popsicle stick. He loved stabbing it and taking a bite. Next is him with his favorite drink- very watered down, not very sweetened green tea. Then a pear slice that he's trying to stab with the fork. And the last picture was from yesterday when he ate rice and teriyaki chicken.

Today he ate a taquito sample at Costco! And, then, when we got home I was putting away our purchases and refilling some of our noodles and oatmeal containers. Gideon climbed up onto a chair next to the counter and when I spilled some of the raw oatmeal, he started snacking on it. He probably ate a tablespoon or two of raw oatmeal! So funny.

We found that giving him a plate with his own fork makes him eat more. He LOVES to stab things with the fork and eat it. That's the only way I got him to even try the chicken. He wouldn't touch it with his fingers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The simplest recipes I have! (And they are good too!)

I cook a lot. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy eating! I do a lot of intuitive cooking, so recipes of things I've created are hard to come by. But, these recipes are SO EASY that the recipes are easy to remember! If your ingredients are prepped in advance, dinner takes 15 minutes to get on the table!

Baked chicken taquitoes

1 cooked, shredded chicken breast (in advance)
1 can refried beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (in advance)
Flour or corn tortillas (I prefer flour)
Cooking spray

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix the shredded chicken, beans, salsa and cheese. Put a spoonful onto one side of the tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down on the tray. Spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400 (the oven doesn't even need to be preheated!) for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned. We eat them with salsa and sour cream. You could easily replace the shredded chicken with shredded beef or pork or leave it out for meatless ones!

Baked potato soup

3 baked potatoes, shredded (let them cool and then use a grater or food processor in advance)
1 cup shredded cheddar (in advance)
Cooked bacon pieces (in advance, grease saved)
4 green onions, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, hot
2 cups milk

Cook green onions and garlic in about a tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add salt and pepper and any other spices you want (I added garlic and cumin) Cook about 2 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Sprinkle in the flour. Stir and let cook for 1 minute. Pour in broth and stir. Microwave milk until warm. Add to pot and bring to boil. Dump in potatoes, cheese and bacon pieces. Stir and serve! This makes about 8-10 cups of soup depending on how big your potatoes were.

I wish I had beautifully yummy pictures of these dishes, but, alas, I'm not a great photographer so I'm sure they wouldn't look as yummy as these dishes really are!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've been sewing for Gideon!

I've made him a sweatshirt, two shirts, two pairs of pants and a pair of sweatpants in the past three days.

I used the MADE 90 minute shirt tutorial and her pants tutorial as well.

I also finished a beanie for him this week. It's getting colder here and he will need a hat for sure. It's not the best picture of the hat but I love the little curl escaping from the side!

I did find some great deals on shirts and a couple pants for him at the thrift store. He really was in need of some warmer clothes! I will probably make him one or two more pairs of pants just because they are so easy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The dreaded early childhood caries or baby cavities

Gideon went in for his first dentist appointment when he was 14 months. He had a very badly chipped tooth and a few yellow spots on his teeth. The dentist looked in his mouth and immediately said, "He'll need all four front teeth capped."

So, we talked to the business guy and he explained the costs if we did at the hospital (he had to be put under) or in the office. We decided on the hospital because the insurance fully covers that- except for the white porcelain caps. There was no way we were going to put silver on his front teeth, so we asked for those.

I was very upset. I felt like it was my fault- not brushing his teeth often enough, letting him nurse through the night (which, by the way, turns out to not be the cause). After researching though, it looks like genetics is the biggest factor in ECCs. And, they haven't figured out a sure fire way to prevent them- just like adult cavities. We debated on getting a second opinion. I didn't really like the dentist much and wanted to know if there were other options.

They are kind of hard to see, but the tooth all the way on the left is very chipped.

After much research, I saw that caps were the most common option. There are some other alternative treatments but with his chipped tooth, I was afraid of him losing it altogether if it wasn't capped soon. It continued to chip even more between the original appointment and the surgery.

Well, a month ago, they called to give us our appointment day. He had a pre dental work appointment with the pediatrician to make sure he was healthy enough for the anesthesia. Also, Gideon believes that all nurses and doctors are there to torture him- appointments are really fun and loud.

His dental work was done a week ago. The scheduled him for early morning so he couldn't nurse after 1 am. It was a LONG night with little sleep for me or Dave. We finally had to put Gideon in his car seat and drive. Once Gideon was asleep, we parked and Dave slept. I think I only had two hours total sleep that night.

Waiting for the anesthesia was the hardest part. Once they gave him some oral meds that made him loopy, we had to hold him- all while he fought us to get down. I went back with him while they put him under. By that time the drugs weren't making him loopy, he was grumpy and he SCREAMED until he was out. It was the hardest thing ever to walk away from him. He looked so tiny on the hospital table.

The actual procedure was very fast. The dentist met with us and suggested we stop giving him soda (I wish there was an eye rolling smiley I could put in here. WHY would he assume that? Also, we told him that we have never given Gideon soda at the first appointment.) Once we told him that again, he said, "Hmm, guess the cavities were genetic." (And, the great part, the bill we received for the dental work included a $35 charge for oral hygiene instruction- insert eye roll- was that what that was?) If we were paying out of pocket, I would be disputing that!

His new teeth. It's the best picture we've been able to get of them!

Anyway, Gideon is doing fine. He had a rough couple of days and we kept him on baby motrin. His teeth look good and we are being VERY diligent about brushing. Hopefully we can keep the other cavities away.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A little disclaimer and update

I didn't realize it'd been so long since I wrote! I can't really claim to have been too busy... just not feeling inspired.

I know I've recommended the boards a lot on this blog. I still think there is some good information to be found, but these past few months I've seen too much crazy. If you go there for information on attachment parenting, breastfeeding or natural living, please, be careful to not believe everything you read. There is CRAZY stuff on there. Read everything with a handful of salt and remember that not everything works for every family. I don't want to get into the weird and awful things I've read there, I just wanted to make sure that if anyone finds them from this blog (not likely since I never update) that there is a disclaimer.

Otherwise, life is good. Gideon is growing like a weed. He's having some caps put on next week and I'm kind of freaking about the anesthesia. I'll be glad when it's over.